T-Mobile Binge On: No streaming caps for Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, ESPN, and more (but no YouTube)By Shawn Knight
T-Mobile hosted its 10th Un-carrier event earlier today in Los Angeles. As expected, the disruptive carrier announced a Music Freedom-like feature that allows select customers to watch streaming video using their cellular connection without eating into their monthly data allotment.
It looks like Evan Blass was right once again. Industry executives must really hate this guy.
Binge On provides unmetered access to 24 streaming services including Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Go90 and Sling TV. Not all of the big-name services such as YouTube have signed on board yet although customers can nominate services they'd like to see added.
You may be asking how T-Mobile can pull off this feat, especially since we've been conditioned to believe that data networks are already on the brink of saturation. The answer is simple: "optimized" video streams.
Before getting to that, it's worth mentioning that T-Mobile has doubled the data buckets its Simple Choice customers receive. Those with 1GB of data now have 2GB, those with 3GB now get 6GB and those on 5GB plans have been upgraded to 10GB bundles. Unlimited customers, meanwhile, will have their hotspot data doubled from 7GB to 14GB.
I say that to say this: Binge On only applies to customers on 6GB data plans and higher.
Update: T-Mobile has clarified that customers will need to opt into the new data plans. They'll be priced as follows from November 19: $50 for 2GB, $65 for 6GB, $80 for 10GB and $95 unlimited w/ 14GB smartphone mobile hotspot. As such, everyone with 3GB of data or more will automatically get Binge On.
That said, Binge On is possible thanks to what T-Mobile calls "new technology" built into its network. As such, you'll be able to watch all of the streaming data you want... but it'll be at 480p (DVD quality). The company notes that users will be able to activate or deactivate Binge On for each line within their My T-Mobile account. For content that isn't included as part of the "free" data, T-Mobile says you'll be able to watch three times more video with the optimization enabled.
To help promote the initiative, T-Mobile is offering all Simple Choice customers 30 percent off a full year's subscription to Sling TV's base package, bringing the price down from $20 per month to just $14. Those with an unlimited data plan, meanwhile, can get a free movie rental each month throughout 2016 from Vudu.
Binge On goes into effect starting November 15.
Lead image courtesy Peter Bernik, Shutterstock